Isaiah Jewett (UC Irvine) earned himself a big PR of 1:48.43 to win the non-invite section over Brennan Munley (Michigan). Munley recorded a time of 1:48.71 which is just a touch off his personal best of 1:48.24.
Matt Molinaro (Ohio Northern) is continuing his strong start to the season with another sub-1:50 effort of 1:49.30 to finish as the third collegiate overall.
The star of the show was Clayton Murphy and rightfully so as he ran a monstrous time of 1:43. However, it was easy to overlook the second place finisher, Eliud Rutto (MTSU) who ran an outstanding 1:45.70 to put himself at #2 in the current NCAA standings. After failing to make the NCAA final this past indoor season, Rutto is clearly attempting to show that he is still one of the best athletes in the nation.
The next collegiate finisher was LSU’s Blair Henderson who had a decent, but unexciting time of 1:47. Henderson is definitely one of the more established half-milers in the NCAA, but at the same time he has never run under 1:47 before. The 800 is more competitive than ever this year and if Henderson wants to repeat as an All-American, he’ll need to get under that time.
The next two to cross the line were Carter Lilly (Iowa) and Sampspn Laari (MTSU), each running times of 1:47. This is a step in the right direction for both of these guys who have had slow starts to their outdoor season, but are steadily improving (especially Lilly).
The last collegiate finisher was Robert Ford (USC), who struggled for the second week in a row with an underwhelming time of 1:49.62. There is still time for Ford to run something fast, but the window is closing for him to start gaining momentum and confidence.
Sergio Miranda of Lewis (division two) was the top finisher in this section with a very solid time of 3:46. He was able to edge out Hillary Rono (MTSU) who also ran a time of 3:46.
Wyatt Diderickson (Idaho State) and Ben Hill (Michigan) both ran 3:46 as well.
Whatever training Southern Utah has been doing, it is working. After a solo effort of 13:39 at Stanford, Mike Tate dropped down in distance and clicked off a 3:44 to finish as the top collegian in this race. Just after Tate was teammate Kasey Knevelbaard who also ran 3:44 to finish as the next best collegian in the race.
How did the Thunderbirds all of the sudden become one of the best distance programs in the nation? These guys seem to have really solid range and are at the top of the NCAA leaderboards while also recording wins. Keep an eye out for more top-tier performances.
Matt Dorsey (Air Force) continues to show off his consistency and fitness by running another solid 1500 time of 3:44 to finish as the third collegian in this race. He may not be winning races, but he’s staying competitive and finishing towards the top of the results. I wouldn’t be surprised if he qualified for nationals again.
Other notable performances include Ned Willig (Michigan) and Sampson Laari (MTSU) running 3:45 and 3:46 respectively. I’m sure these two both wanted something a bit faster, but there is still time for these NCAA indoor qualifiers to make some more noise. Look for Willig to attempt a fast 800 in the near future.
3000 Steeple: REGULAR
An impressive total of 13 individuals dipped under the nine-minute mark in this section with Emmanuel Rotich (Tulane) leading the way in a time of 8:48. It was his first steeplechase race ever.
Yusuke Uchikoshi (Boise State) and BYU frosh Clayson Shumway both ran 8:48’s as well, one heat earlier than Rotich. That time is a big result for both of these guys who are looking to put themselves into the national qualifying conversation in what is currently a wide-open steeplechase field.
3000 Steeple: INVITE
Former NCAA steeplechase champion and UTEP alumni Anthony Rotich led the way for an elite field of collegiate distance runners. Rotich got the win in 8:39 and was closely followed by MJ Erb (Ole Miss) who had a strong showing in 8:41 (NCAA#2). Erb is one of the names currently in the national title conversation for the steeplechase and he is one of my personal favorites.
The next few spots were decided by a barrage of kicks. Illinois’ Dylan Lafond had an outstanding race as he finished in a time of 8:42. Overall, Lafond has been very quiet this year in terms of performances and needed a race like this to boost his confidence.
Texas Tech’s Benard Keter was the third collegiate finisher with a time of 8:43 while Fink was the next guy through in 8:44. Neither of these two have walked away from nationals as All-Americans. Could this finally be the year that one of them does it? I sure hope so, especially for someone like Fink who has been the leader of an underrated Eastern Michigan team for so long.
Geoffry Cheruiyot (MTSU) and Connor Mora (Michigan) also dipped under the 8:50 mark with each athlete recording times of 8:48. Freshman Kale Adams (Adams State) was the last finisher under 8:50 with a time of 8:49.
Kigen Chemadi was just another contributor to the Middle Tennessee dominance as he placed first in his section with a respectable time of 13:56. He was able to defeat fellow sophomore Daniel Carney (BYU) who crossed the line in 14:01.24.
Garrett Migliozzi (Cal Poly) was the next collegiate in 14:01.91 while redshirt freshman Caleb Webb (Portland) was 14:01.99.
5000: INVITE In one of the more exciting races of the weekend, Marc Scott battled with 2016 Mnt. SAC champion Sydney Gidabuday in a final-lap showdown. Of course, the King of Kicks (Scott) was able to unleash an all-out sprint in the final 200 meters to pull away from the field and earn the victory in an NCAA #2 time of 13:37.
Jack Bruce (Arkansas) was the next finisher with a huge personal best 13:38 (NCAA #3). The once inconsistent Razorback has now become one of the more reliable runners in the NCAA. The man is consistently improving and earning strong finishes. Could he be an All-American in June? All signs point to yes…
Colby Gilbert (Washington) was less than a stride behind Bruce as he also finished in a time of 13:38. It’s a nice rebound for Gilbert who had some struggles at nationals in this event.
Gidabuday, the division two Adams State star, was fourth overall in a very respectable time of 13:39 which is now a D2 NCAA lead.
Dillon Maggard (Utah State) was a pleasant surprise in fifth place as he ran 13:41 for a 27 second personal best. Maggard is typically considered a miler, but he may want to consider switching his focus after a performance like this.
After this top five is when things get interesting. Daniel De La Torre (UCLA), James Ngandu (Tiffin), and Grant Fischer (Colorado State) all hit the 13:46 mark to establish themselves among the top 10 in the NCAA standings. Ngandu is currently #2 in the D2 standings (behind Gidabuday).
And how about the freshmen this year? Amon Kemboi (Campbell) and Jonathan Davis (Illinois) ran blistering times of 13:47 and 13:49 (respectively) which compliments their personal bests in the shorter races as well. Is it just me or are the freshman getting faster with each passing year?
In the end, a total of 19 individuals broke the 14-minute barrier.
Despite there being three different race sections, it was the invite race that deserves all of our attention. Division two multi-national champion Vincent Kiprop (Missouri Southern) absolutely dominated the field with a time of 28:19 which would be a NCAA #4 in division one. And the twist (because there’s always a twist) is that this kid is only a sophomore! Talk about talent.
Of course, it’s very possible that Kiprop transfers to a division one program after this year. He’s talented enough to get a full-ride somewhere. He could even follow Alfred Chelanga to Alabama. The Crimson Tide do lose Antibahs Kosgei and Robbie Farnham-Rose at the end of this season. With those two gone, there would be plenty of room (and need) for a distance talent like Kiprop...
MTSU freshman Jacob Choge was the next best collegiate and top division one finisher in a very strong time of 28:42. Choge has been trying out different distances over the past few seasons and it seems like the 10k may be the best event he’s tried so far. It makes sense that he does better in the longer distances especially when you consider that his brother, Augustine Choge, is a two-time world champion medalist in the 3000 and owns a personal best of 12:53 in the 5k.
Amon Terer (Campebll) and Rory Linkletter (BYU) were the last collegiates under 29-minutes with each athlete running 28:57 and 28:58 respectively.
The fifth place finisher was division two athlete Dominik Notz (Alaska Anchorage) who ran the second PR of his season with a time of 29:12.
Jim Busch Invite
In his outdoor debut, Emmanuel Korir (UTEP) took the win in a time of 1:47. While that typically wouldn’t be too exciting, you have to keep in mind that his first 400 was 55 high and his final 400 was 51 low. Simply put, this was just experimental racing for the 800 meter indoor champion.
Korir led teammate Jonah Koech to a runner-up finish time of 1:49.99.
Michael Saruni (UTEP) moved up in distance and got the win over Texas A&M’s Alex Riba. Both ran times of 3:47.
Beynon Sports Surface Catamount Classic
Where did Matthew Harding come from? The UNC-Asheville freshman just ran a huge PR of 1:48.82 to take the win by over three seconds. He has some respectable PR’s, but nothing that indicated a time of 1:48.
Ocean State Invite
Columbia’s Rob Napolitano runs 1:49 to defeat Brown’s Zach Emrich who ran 1:50 for second.
Julian Oakley (Providence) runs 4:03 for the win.
Robert Heppenstall (Wake Forest) moved up in distance to the 1500 this past weekend and ran a surprisingly quick time of 3:43 to earn the win by nearly three seconds. It was the first time Heppenstall has ever run this event.
Michigan State Spartan sophomore Justine Kiprotich ran a time of 3:44 to get his second win of the season. Indiana’s Joseph Murphy and Kyle Mau each ran 3:45 to finish second and third.
Edwin Kibichiy (Louisville) runs 8:51 to get the win over Max Benoit (Michigan State) who ran 9:00 for second place.
Texas sophomore Alex Rogers had a terrific solo effort to get the win in a time of 8:48.
Oxford & Cambridge vs Penn & Cornell
Nick Tuck (Penn) secured the win with a time of 8:54.
Bison Outdoor Classic
In a field that was heavy with division one and two talent, it was a division three stud, Isaac Garcia-Cassani (SUNY Genesee), who took the win in an impressive time of 3:44. Ryan Thompson (Slippery Rock), Chase Silverman (Cornell), and Domenic Perretta (Penn State) took the next three spots, each running times of 3:46.
Bryan Clay Invite
Tyler Scheving (Buffalo) was the big winner with a time of 1:48.70. He led a total of five others under the 1:50 mark.
What. A. Race.
In what might be the best race of the entire 2017 regular season, we saw three collegiates under the 3:40 mark and a mind-blowing total of 28 collegiates under 3:45.
But in a crowded field of elite athletes, Josh Kerr emerged as the star. The Scottish redshirt freshman took charge in the second half of the race and ripped off a 55 second last lap to claim the win and position himself as the 6th fastest 1500-meter runner in NCAA history with a time of 3:35.99. There were a lot of questions about how legit Kerr was after he out-ran Cheserek in a tactical mile final this past indoor season to become an NCAA champion.
Now? I don’t think anyone is questioning his title.
After going out with the pacer, Engels still hung on and finished just off his personal best with a time of 3:37. He was able to beat out Oklahoma State ace Josh Thompson who ran 3:38.
After being injured all winter season, Sam Prakel had a heck of a comeback. The Oregon junior just ran a time of 3:40.87 to improve on his 3:43 from earlier in the season.
As for the other Oregon Ducks, Blake Haney finally had his rebound race with a solid time of 3:42. You have to be happy for Haney who has struggled for nearly a year now. I'd like to see another solid performance from him, but this performance will suffice for the moment. Freshman Duck Austin Tamagno threw down a ridiculous 3:41 to position himself as the fastest true freshman in the nation.
Cole Rockhold (Colorado State) continues to establish himself as one of the top milers in the NCAA with a time of 3:41. He was followed by Jeff Thies (Portland), Robbie Farnham-Rose (Alabama), Chase Horrocks (BYU), and freshman Geordie Beamish (NAU), all of whom finished with a time of 3:41. For many of these guys, this is the breakout race that they were looking for.
The next tier of runners included a few new names to the distance scene such as David Ribich (Western Oregon), sophomore Kyle Burdick (South Dakota State), and Shane Streich (Minnesota). These three along with six others were able to hit the 3:42 mark.
Despite all of the outstanding performances, the glaring absence of Edward Cheserek left a few people wondering if he could have got the NCAA record in a field this fast…
Admittedly, I was convinced that Arkansas’ Cale Wallace would get this win. But Cedarville’s Daniel Michalski had other plans as he took the win in a time of 8:52, one second faster than Wallace.
The third collegiate to cross the line was freshman Luca Sinn (Weber State) who ran a respectable time of 8:54.
What can Knevelbaard not do? Before he ran a 3:44 at Mnt. SAC, the SUU sophomore ran the 5000 at Bryan Clay where he won with a time of 13:50. He was able to hold off Arkansas Razorback Cameron Griffith who ran 13:52. Gilbert Kigen (Central Arizona) was third in a time of 13:53.
Those top three finishers are all sophomores.